Better Macaroni Salad

Cook’s notes: I picked up lunch at the grocery store this week, including a single-serve macaroni salad. And it was…kind of gross. Too much mayo and loaded with sugar, which I wasn’t expecting. This version has a fat-free dressing that is delicious, and it’s loaded with vegetables. I estimate that it has about 5.8 g of fiber in each 2-cup serving. And it’s so tasty that the boring, goopy, store-bought version will never work for me again.

You can also use corkscrew pasta or ditaloni (short tubes). Using whole-grain pasta increases the fiber in this salad. For lunch, take two cups of this salad and add a 2.5 oz pouch of tuna packed in water.

Macaroni salad, much improved with vegetables

Makes 6 servings (about 10 cups)

2 cups dry, macaroni elbows — whole-grain or whole-wheat
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup sliced celery (2 stalks)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped English (hothouse) cucumber

1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
3 tbsp sweet pickle relish (Wickle’s brand preferred)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the vegetables. Lightly coat a skillet with cooking spray. Saute the peas, celery, shredded carrot, and red pepper.

In a large bowl, combine cooled macaroni with sauteed vegetables. Add the cucumber pieces.

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, relish, and mustard. Add dressing to pasta salad and toss well to coat. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Pasta salad will keep in the refrigerator for several days.